This is the zucchini cake we sampled at last week’s pickup – olive oil, lemon – all my favourite things. I just baked it in a regular sheet cake pan (9×13), and it was a little sweet – reduce the sugar in the recipe by a 1/4 cup. Or leave it as is! From David Lebovitz – delicious.

Zucchini Cake with Crunchy Lemon Glaze
Serves 12-16
Adapted from Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen by Gina DePalmaI used the fine grating disk for my stand mixer but Gina recommends if grating the zucchini by hand, use the fine holes on a box grater. I also think since you’ve got the grater out, you may as well add a few swipes of lemon zest to the cake batter, since you’re using the juice for the glaze, which I’m going to do next time.The best way to invert the cake is to lay the cooling rack over the top of the cake pan, then grasping both the cake pan and the rack simultaneously (if it’s too hot, wear oven mitts), flip them both over at once. Lift off the cake pan, then liberally brush the glaze over the warm cake.
For the cake:

1 cup (135g) almonds, pecans, or walnuts, toasted
2 cups (280g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups (350g) sugar
1 cup (250ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (300g) finely grated zucchini
For the lemon glaze:

1/4 cup (60ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup 65g) granulated sugar
1 cup (140g) powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Grease a 10 cup (2.5l) bundt or tube cake pan* with non-stick spray or butter, dust with flour, then tap out any excess.
2. Pulse the nuts in a food processor until finely chopped.
3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, 1 3/4 cup (350g) sugar, and olive oil for 3 minutes on medium speed, until light and fluffy. Stop and scrape down the sides of the mixer, then add the vanilla.
5. Mix in the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides of the mixer bowl to make sure everything is mixed in well, then beat on medium speed for 30 seconds.
6. Stir in the chopped nuts and zucchini.
7. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan, smooth the top, then bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan.
8. During the last few minutes of the cake baking, make the glaze by whisking together the lemon juice, 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar, and powdered sugar.
9. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then carefully invert it onto a cooling rack. Brush the glaze over the cake with a pastry brush and let the cake cool completely.

Storage: The cake can be wrapped (or put under a cake dome) and will keep for a few days. You can freeze the unglazed cake. However to apply the glaze, you’ll need to defrost the cake then warm it so the glaze will adhere properly.

*If you don’t have a bundt or tube pan, I noticed that both Adam and Sara made the cake in a regular round cake pan with good results.

This cake batter could also be baked in two loaf pans, which is easier for gift-giving, if you’re trying to share your zucchini bounty. You may need to reduce the baking time a little to compensate for the smaller pans.

What a roller coaster! Watching the horses sweat and the kids in t-shirts and barefoot, it’s hard to comprehend that last week we had an ice storm! Spring is a slow one this year – most plants are two or three weeks behind their normal growth at this time of the year.
I was planning on a CSA start date of May 16th – and it still might – things often take off very fast once it warms like this – but I was starting to wonder! I’m happy we have plenty of room in the greenhouse and hoop houses. A few more weeks of winter has sent us scrambling for more firewood (for the houses and greenhouse), and we are scraping the bottom of the hay barn for the horses and cow.

Unmulching strawberries!

But the chickens are laying lots of eggs! If you’re in the area, come by for some eggs – until the CSA starts, they’re only $5/dozen. We have some new pullets that are laying little eggs – and they’re only $4/dozen. We feed our laying hens our own sprouted grain (organic oats and barley) as well as certified organic feed. The last time I went to the feed store to get layer feed, they accidentally sold me GMO-free feed instead – and claimed that it was ‘organic’. It’s not the same thing, folks! We pay extra for the feed because we feel like it’s worth it – I like knowing that I’m supporting other organic farmers when I buy my chicken feed, and have the assurance that it has been grown responsibly.

Here’s a recipe for some cured egg yolks – I made them last week and they’re fantastic! So far we have eaten them on pasta, and on salad. They’re salty and rich, like little umami bombs. You can use them on anything that you would use grated parmesan on – I like to grate them with a microplane (or a really fine cheese grater).

Cured Egg Yolks

1 pound sea salt

1 pound sugar

12 egg yolks

Find a glass or porcelain 9 x 9 inch casserole dish, or a bowl that has enough surface area to hold 12 egg yolks with a good couple of inches between them and an edge about 3 inches tall.  Measure the sugar and salt (if you don’t have a scale, just shoot for about 2 cups of each) into a bowl and mix it well. Use about 1/3 of the salt/sugar mixture to coat the bottom of the dish. Use an egg in the shell to make 12 little indentations for the yolks to rest in – with space in between them. You want each yolk to be completely surrounded by the salt/sugar mixture and not touching one another. Place the yolks in the indentations and then pour the remainder of the salt/sugar. Each yolk should be covered with it. Wrap with plastic wrap (or like a wax fabric wrap if you’re a hippie like me), and place it in the fridge for 3-4 days. Check it after 3 days. The yolks should be firm. If they’re still a little soft in the centre, let them go for another day. When they’re cured, remove them from the curing mix, rinse them under cool water and dry them. Dry them at 150-200˚ for an hour or two in a dehydrator, or an oven set to its lowest setting – you’re trying to dry them, not bake them. And they’re done! They will keep for a month in the fridge – just keep them in an airtight container.



Eggplant Dip (Babaganoush)

Great alternative to dairy-based dips – delicious with bread, pita or vegetables. Or make it into a salad by adding a handful of cherry tomatoes and some chopped cucumber!

1 large eggplant (or 2 small)

1/3 C tahini

2 Tbsp water

1-2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove, crushed (or more if you like)

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

First you need to blacken the eggplant- leave it whole and you can do it in the oven at 450˚, on the grill, or even on a gas burner on top of the stove. Blackening the skin on the outside really imparts a lovely smoky flavor to the dish, so don’t be afraid to really go for it. Another key element is getting the flesh inside the eggplant totally cooked and collapsed. So if you blacken the outside and it still seems as though the inside is raw, throw it in the oven to completely cook it. When the eggplant is totally soft and collapsed, cut a slit in the skin and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Mix it with the rest of the ingredients. If it seems too lumpy and goopy for your tastes, put it in a food processor and give it a blitz.

Options –

  • Add 3 Tbsp chopped parsley or cilantro (or both!)
  • substitute yogurt or sour cream for the tahini
  • add 1 Tbsp pomegranate molasses (sweet-sour flavor)